Monday, March 15, 2010

Diane Kruger by Karl Lagerfeld

If you had asked me last year which actress I would be reincarnated as, I would have promptly said, Cate Blanchett. But right now in this very moment, I would die, (like, Rachel Zoe die) to be Diane Kruger.

Not only does she have enviable style and a breakout role in a critically-acclaimed movie but she has recently been shot for German Vogue by the Keiser himself, Karl Lagerfeld.

In this editorial, titled Dandy Diane, Kruger puts on the men's looks à la Annie Hall and a young Coco Chanel.

Can't you picture her strolling down the streets of New York or Paris in the 1920s or the 70s?

What I loved about the Fall 2010 season was the return of the suit. There were masculine touches in the slim tailoring, the smart shoulders and the pinstripes but it made the suits all the more feminine and sexy when paired with a blouse and great heels.

And Kruger is the perfect model for this male/female power force. It's hard to pull off such a masculine image (suit, tie, hat tilted just so) and still look completely feminine and soft, but Kruger pulls it off beautifully.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Alexander McQueen Fall 2010

I was going to write a review of Lee McQueen's last collection before he passed away but I felt that my words couldn't do it justice. I can only say that his absence will be sorely felt; for his clothes and his radical vision where a thing of beauty.

He was the only designer who wasn't afraid to take huge risks with his collections; will there be any more innovators, free-thinkers and dreamers like McQueen? I hope so.

Here is a review from the New York Times.

PARIS — With a pattern of angel wings undulating over her shoulder blades, the model walked through the gilded salon in one of Alexander McQueen’s final creations before he chose to leave this world. The private show that took place Tuesday, to the classical music Mr. McQueen had been listening to as he cut and fitted the 2010 autumn collection, was a requiem for a great designer. His vision of Gothic glory, with a world bathed in religious symbolism, was translated not just with immense subtlety and beauty but also with the urgent futurism that was the essence of his spirit. So the abstractions of Hieronymus Bosch paintings were not just printed on the sensuous and shapely outfits, where a taut bodice grew out of a multifolded hipline or emerged from soft fabrics flowing around it. Instead the images, with a focus in the British royal heritage of lions rampant or Grinling Gibbons’s wood carvings, were screened, manipulated and digitally woven. This was part of the designer’s exceptional reach from historic past to cyberspace future. But the anger and energy that had always driven Mr. McQueen to his finest work had turned to a mesmerizing calm for this 15-piece collection, which he completed before his suicide last month. The medieval headdress no longer had the wild, joyous madness that it had when Isabella Blow, his friend and mentor, wore one for a 1990s photo shoot. Everything in this collection seemed to be distilled from last season’s short and taut dresses balanced on animalistic footwear. Here sandals wreathed in gilded roses matched the salon’s ornate decoration, while the mirrors reflected the models’ golden feather Mohawks. The intense workmanship was of couture quality, which is the way Mr. McQueen had been moving his signature line. There were damp eyes among the small audience and sobs backstage — both from personal grief and at the scale of the loss to fashion of this singular designer. In this collection Alexander — Lee — McQueen showed his sensitivity to history, his powers of research, his imagination, his technical skills and his love of women, often misinterpreted or misunderstood, but here evident in every fold and feather.

For more photos of the show click here.

Update: Watch a video to see the clothes up close

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I grew up with a love for reading. When I was a kid I devoured Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, The Babysitters's Club, Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables and any book my mom gave me.

But I was especially fond of comic books. My favourites were Archie, Calvin and Hobbes, Tintin and Asterix. I would just read them for hours and hours and I fell in love with all the characters.

When I was a teenager and through most of my early twenties, I forgot about comic books for a while until I discovered the graphic novel; Fables, Watchmen, Batman, Y: The Last Man are just a few of the ones I am currently obsessed with.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the women in these stories; how they are represented, what they mean to me personally and how their clothes reflect women in general. I guess I've been thinking about it because I am considering getting a tattoo of James Jean's Sally Jupiter (from Watchmen.)

In Watchmen, Sally Jupiter is a strong, kick-ass babe who loves fighting crime and making sure her hair is set juuuust right. In her heyday, she goes through many challenges, including surviving a sexual attack, but she still manages to keep on fighting. Her costume is a deliberate tease; fashioned to fool criminals (and men) into thinking she is a diminutive sex kitten.

But it's also a deliberate statement that says she is in control, she is liberated and she is sexually free and in charge. She can be sexy and still catch the bad guys.

The portrayal of women in comic books (especially how they are dressed) has always fascinated me, if even it's subconsciously. The clothes are usually skin tight and revealing, and you would think that Cat Woman would have a hell of a time fighting crime in a leather bodysuit.

The clothes always seemed to restrict the women; just as women in real life have historically been oppressed by their corsets, their high heels, their tight jeans.

And sure, sex sells. Men make up a large comic book readership but I feel that women are gaining on them. And although the women in comic books still wear titillating clothes, their personalities and actions make the clothes stand as a symbol of female power; they are taking back their sexuality once owned by men and making it their own and controlling it.

And that is definitely something I can root for.

Here are some other favourite comic book characters and their amazing outfits.

Cinderella- Fables

Wonder Woman

Bat Girl

Cat Woman
Dark Phoenix

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My imaginary model boyfriend

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I have a little thing for model Jamie Dornan.

To me, he stands out in multiple ways from other male models; he's not a skinny waif like so many you see on the runway and in ads (ahem, Prada, Burberry;) he's beautiful but rugged (he can rock clean shaven and scraggly beard;) and most importantly, he has an unforgettable face.

He always gives the camera what I call his "fuck me" look: Head tilted down, eyes looking up at you as if he's about to eat you. Or kill you. It's hot and as a result, he takes beautiful photographs and Calvin Klein really knows how to show off his best assets: his body and his face.

And for a while, I could only enjoy looking at him in magazines and the one role he had in Marie Antoinette until I found a video of him on Nylon TV. We learn that he loves hamburgers (what a coincidence, I love hamburgers too!) and he doesn't take modeling that seriously. It's a fun watch.

If you are not familiar with Jamie, then please, enjoy these photos of him (and Eva Mendes) in the Calvin Klein Spring jeans campaign.

You are welcome.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bloggers vs. the rest of the fashion world

I came across an article from The Global Herald called London Fashion Week AW 2010 – New Digital Era Spells Trouble for Fashion Bloggers.

It highlights the gap that is closing between fashion bloggers and the fashion elite (editors, buyers, writers, PR, etc) and how fashion weeks are dealing with what to do with the growing army of said bloggers.

This article specifically talks about the mass of bloggers at London Fashion Week taking over the press area and whether they should be considered press.

Lately there have been many articles talking about whether bloggers should be allowed to cover shows, much less sit in coveted first-row seats. With the rise of Tavi (Style Rookie,) BryanBoy, Garance Doré, Sea of Shoes, Fashion Toast, Style Bubble and more, fashion bloggers seem to be taking over the fashion world with their alternative insight into style and thousands upon thousands of devoted followers.

There is no doubt that many of these bloggers have intelligent insight, experience, style and thoughtful, smart writing. They fill in the void that mainstream fashion publications can't give to the public such as unbiased commentary and a different viewpoint on style without the interference of advertisers.

But the real question is: How much credibility do they have and wear should they sit in the fashion heirarchy?

Many people questioned whether Tavi, a 13-year-old American girl, should have been sitting in the front row of Dior, when a more experienced writer or editor from a major publication could be sitting there.

They argue that Tavi, and many other young bloggers (it seems that a lot of these fashion bloggers are quite young, in their teens and twenties) don't have the experience that writers and editors have.

While that may be true, that doesn't mean take their insight any less worthy. Bloggers are invited to fashion shows for several reasons; fashion houses are hoping that the bloggers will write favourable reviews of the shows resulting in readers buying their products; they are also starting to realize that the Internet is a powerful tool to bring in new customers and influential style bloggers can bring in those customers that mainstream publications can't.

But I think the divide between bloggers and the mainstream is starting to close, whether Condé Nast likes it or not.

Blogging is not just a fad; in fact social media is just really starting to pick up steam. Fashion houses are only just starting to use Twitter and Facebook to draw in people to watch their shows live and buy their products.

In the end, it's very smart for businesses to use bloggers to help promote their product. And in that respect, bloggers are kind of like magazines and newspapers; they help to sell fashion brands.

Fortunately, bloggers aren't dependent on businesses to survive. They can say anything they want to and not lose readers or advertisers.

But back to this whole credibility issue: Sure, Tavi was barely alive when Marc Jacobs first started at Louis Vuitton, but many established writers weren't around when Monsieur Dior was alive, and they seem to get by just fine.

I think that intelligence and a unique point of view are more important than experience. And the fact that these bloggers are honest with their readers, that gives them enough credibility to be able to cover the same events and interview the same people as the mainstream fashion elite.

So future fashion weeks, be prepared to install a bigger press room; the bloggers need their space too.

For more related reading:

Fashion world agog over blogger

Elle editor leads backlash over 13-year-old blogger

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My New York picks

New York Fall 2010 is officially over and I finally had the time to go over most of the collections to choose my favourite looks.

NY Fashion Week for me is always synonymous with one man: Marc Jacobs. An invite to his show is one of the most sought-after items of the week thanks in large part to his beautiful, sometimes quirky and always fun collections.

For this collection, he brought it back to the basics; classic lines, elegant suits, beautiful furs, long flowing dresses; it Old Hollywood glamour with a modern edge. Gone were the layers, the trashed-up motifs and the multiple references to different eras. Instead it was a very streamlined, elegant collection that I'm sure many women would love to wear.

And if you can't get into Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein would be next on your list of must-see shows.
Designer Francisco Costa experimented with silhouettes. Arms and shoulders were emphasized, giving coats and dresses a bit of a futuristic military feel. Waistlines were either moved up or dropped below, giving dresses new shapes. I am always impressed with Costa's technique and construction. He can mold material into strange new shapes that have never been seen before.

Here are my other favourite looks:

Derek Lam

Vera Wang

Zac Posen

Naeem Khan

Oscar de la Renta

3.1 Phillip Lim

To me, NY Fashion Week was going back to what they do best; sportswear, subtle elegance and wearable clothes. We saw a lot of new shapes, specifically emphasis on shoulders and arms as well as new waistlines. Leggings were nowhere to be seen (thank God!) and looser but tailored clothes were back. All in all, a great week of beautiful clothes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skating in style

The Vancouver 2010 Olympics are in full swing and I have enthusiastically joined Team Canada.

There are a lot of winter sports I enjoy watching; snowboard half-pipe, speed skating and luge. But I have become obsessed with figure skating and I can partly thank American skater Johnny Weir for that (don't worry, I'm still Team Patrick Chan!)

I first heard about Weir when he skated to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" at the 2010 Nationals. He wore sequined gloves, had metal bits going up one arm and his face was painted black and blue.

Two days ago, Weir skated in the short program wearing a black corset with pink ruffles.

Skating is known for having ridiculous costumes (see Ukraine's "Avatar" inspired look) but Weir's get-up took it to a whole new level. An awesome level.

Not many male figure skaters would have chosen to wear a garment historically worn by women. It just shows that Weir is not afraid of taking risks sartorially and yes he is talented skater.

Unfortunately Weir is going through some controversy now because he wore fur on one of his costumes and brought PETA's ire on himself.

What really stands out is how unique and beautiful his costumes are. They could be cheesy but instead they're fun and creative.

Tonight is the men's freestyle program and Johnny will be going for the gold. But even if he doesn't get a medal, he is definitely the best dressed of the bunch.